My team was #24, WCP AR, consisting of Jon, Gavin, and Tony. We hadn't been able to do much training together during the summer, but we were confident that we were all trained and mentally prepared for the race. Oh, and uninjured...getting a full team to the starting line is the toughest challenge of all.
Let's face it, packing for an expedition adventure race can take up more time than the race itself. Without the maps, it was hard to know what to pack in which bag, so I did what every racer was doing pre-race...packing every bit of technical gear I owned into my car to sort out later.
The biggest moment of fear came on Friday evening after Rob had dropped me off at Tony's for an early start up to Scotland the next day. We were mentally running through our packing lists, and at the same moment looked at each other and said "Paddles!". Unfortunately I had remembered the canoe but hadn't thought about how we were going to paddle it!
Frantic phone calls ensued, but Jon came through for the team, as he had picked up 6 paddles from his rental place rather than the 4 we had agreed on. Crisis averted, thanks Jon!
After a rainy Saturday drive up to Stirling, Scotland (is this going to continue all week?) by mid-day we were united with Jon and Gavin and ready to get the race started. Oh, right, more packing.
Registration gave us the packet of maps, which covered such a huge area that we had to lay them out end to end using both sets to get the route in our heads. Frankly, it looked scary.
More packing, this time in bright sunshine, lucky for us, as we spread gear out over half the parking lot. Finally knowing where our bags would be allowed us to pack food (20,000 calories each), plus multiple sets of clothing, shoes, and spare everythings. It rained moments after we had finished and put it all back in the van. I'm happy to say this pattern of timely rain showers would continue for the race.
|Midpoint control in Gavin's bike section, |
and also on the 10k run the next morning.
To save us
There were 4 stages in the prologue (hey, there are 4 people on a team, that works out...). First a run stage, then orienteering, then two mountain bike stages. I claimed the run stage straightaway, hoping that would do the least amount of time damage to our team. The start was at the main gate of Stirling Castle, and the run took us up and down on trails around the castle. It was hillier than I hoped and longer than I wanted, but 20 minutes later I was huffing my way up the final hill to hand off the race to Jon.
Jon had the orienteering stage, using a map of the city published in 1898! The race director got a bit of an evil grin when he told us about that particular challenge. Luckily the city streets haven't completely changed since then, and Jon was back in good time without getting too lost.
Tony and Gavin had the last two biking stages, which included some hills and mud, but luckily for our team no flat tyres or crashes. In the end we were about 15 minutes behind the leaders, which would give us a 29 minute penalty to serve sometime in the main race.
The main race recap is in Part 2 and Part 3
Check out a video of our race here
|The army of volunteers did a wonderful job all week.|